For some time now I have been consciously trying to incorporate the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz into my life, but a recent situation with someone showed me just how deep my domestication/conditioning goes and how unconsciously I have not always been in alignment. It has been an eye opening time for me and I can also clearly see the impact in my life and in how both of us approached the situation. Although a long way from being totally in alignment, the light shone on how I am unconsciously not in agreement, has enabled me to look at things differently and to make changes in my approach, which has brought a greater sense of peace to me.
The Four Agreements are:
– Be impeccable with your word
– Don’t take things personally
– Don’t make assumptions
– Always do your best
Although I was honest in what I said and tried to use my Word in the direction of truth and love, I have realised that I need to be more clear in what I am saying, ensuring there is understanding and clarity without leaving things open to interpretation and assumptions by the other party. Or to assume on my part that there will be further conversation when I can provide that clarity so only making brief statements in the now. It has been amazing to realise just how much time I spend making assumptions. By consciously acknowledging when this is happening and clearing my head of them, I have become aware of how much free time I now have in my thoughts and am working hard not to fall into the trap of filling that free time with even more assumptions!! 🙂
I have also learned just how much I internalize things that are said, take them very personally and then use my Word against myself; beating myself up for what I could or should have done or said. And just how much my assumptions about what the other party is thinking or feeling can be turned against myself too, again beating myself up. It is hard to let go of this life long pattern, but when I am successful it is so freeing and peaceful and so I’m doing my best to catch myself, really evaluate whether what I am saying is true, and if not, to let it go with love and give myself a gentle mental/emotional hug.
Not taking things personally is definitely a challenge for me. However I realised that there are things going on inside and around the other party that influence how they project their feelings and emotions and these things may not always be visible to me (as in the iceberg picture below). Reacting only to what they are projecting and taking that personally causes me to feel upset, anxious and hurt, all of which may not have actually been intended. And it is only my reaction to what they are saying or doing that is causing my pain. And this is true the other way round i.e. the other party’s reaction to me. Taking time to pause & take a deep breath and realise not everything is mine to own is helping me find a calm centre and a place from which to look at things differently and eliminate a whole lot of angst in my life.
I have also realised I make assumptions all the time. Assumptions about what others are thinking, feeling, even saying, doing, etc. and am now deliberately trying to catch myself when I do and repeat my mantra “don’t assume, don’t judge” to myself over and over to clear those thoughts. I’m also trying really hard to ask for clarification of something rather than assume I know the answer. It may not be feasible in the heat of the moment, but I have realised I can find peace while I wait by not making any assumptions and “erasing” any thoughts that are related to assumptions from my mind through mantras, meditation and affirmations.
And I am trying hard to be gentle with myself when I am unconsciously not in alignment with the agreements and take things personally or make an assumption or realise I haven’t been as clear with my Word as I could have been. Instead of beating myself up as I have done in the past and using my Word against myself, I’m trying to accept that as long as I feel I am doing my best and trying to put the agreements into action in my life and to catch when I have fallen back on unconscious habits that have built up over my life, it’s ok, I can reset and try again.
It’s been a very tough lesson and one I’m a long way from fully learning, but it has also been an amazing breakthrough for me in seeing how I can use the Four Agreements in my life, taking it one step at a time and working towards bringing back peace and harmony.
With love always,